An new community solar ’toolkit’ has been launched to help people to successfully develop and profit from community-owned solar farms.
The online resource, launched on Tuesday by SEE-Change and Solarshare, will provide a wide rage of resources and information to interested parties, including guidance on getting started, establishing governance processes, finding a suitable site and conducting tender processes.
The toolkit – developed by SolarShare and Canberra Clean Energy – is largely based on the SolarShare project currently underway in the ACT, which stands to be Australia’s largest community-owned solar farm, producing around 1.9GWh of renewable electricity each year from its 5,500 solar panels – enough to power up to 250 homes.
The motivation behind SolarShare’s ACT plans was to give the local community the opportunity to co-own a large-scale solar farm that would contribute to the territory’s ambitious clean energy goals while creating a financial return for investors.
And though it is still awaiting government approval, the proposal has attracted a healthy amount of interest, with more than $2 million pledged by over 360 community supporters, so far.
“Community renewable energy projects allow communities to reap a triple reward – they get to build local and social networks, they contribute to a more sustainable energy future, and investors benefit financially,” said SEE-Change CEO Jodie Pipkorn in a statement on Tuesday.
“This toolkit shares the lessons we’ve learnt through the SolarShare project and we hope it can help other communities to create their own renewable energy future,” she said.
The creation of the the solar toolkit was funded by the ACT government under the Climate Change Grants program.